What Is Sipuleucel-T?

Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Sipuleucel-T is often administered at an infusion center or doctor's office under the care of a specially-trained nurse.
Sipuleucel-T is often administered at an infusion center or doctor's office under the care of a specially-trained nurse.

Sipuleucel-T is a medication that is classified as a autologous cellular immunotherapy drug. A doctor may prescribe this drug to treat men with advanced prostate cancer. Sipuleucel-T is created using the patient's own cells, which are first collected, processed, and then injected back into the patient within a certain period of time. This medication works by supporting the immune system's efforts to fight off the cancer.

Sipuleucel-T may be used to treat advanced stage prostate cancer.
Sipuleucel-T may be used to treat advanced stage prostate cancer.

Patients must go to a cell collection center to have their white blood cells harvested. This process is called leukapheresis. Patients should expect it to last about three to four hours. Since it can cause fatigue, dizziness, and nausea, as well as fainting, patients should have someone else drive them home from the cell collection center. The cells are then processed and mixed with proteins.

A doctor will administer the sipuleucel-T injection precisely three days following the cell harvesting. It is given as an infusion into a vein, typically over the course of about an hour. Patients will likely be prescribed three doses, given two weeks apart. Other medications may be administered prior to the injection, in order to alleviate possible reactions to the drug. Patients should inform the doctor if they experience a reaction, such as chest pains, problems breathing, and a rapid or irregular heartbeat.

Other side effects may occur with the use of sipuleucel-T, which should be reported to the doctor if they are severe. Patients may experience nausea, sweating, and chills. Uncontrollable shaking, muscle pain, and back or joint pain have also been reported. This prostate cancer drug may also cause headaches and fatigue.

More serious side effects require immediate medical care. Patients should call their doctors right away if they have a fever, bloody urine, or problems swallowing. Slow or difficult speech, weakness or numbness, and fainting may also occur. Some patients may be dizzy or notice redness or swelling around the injection site.

Before undergoing sipuleucel-T treatment for advanced prostate cancer, patients should inform their doctors if they have any other medical conditions or if they take any other medications or supplements. This drug may be contraindicated for use by those who have lung problems, heart problems, or have had a stroke in the past. Sipuleucel-T injections are not intended for use by women. They may interact with other drugs, such as cancer medications, prednisone, and oral steroids, such as cyclosporine or azathioprine. This injection may also interact with sirolimus, methylprednisolone, and tacrolimus.

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    • Sipuleucel-T is often administered at an infusion center or doctor's office under the care of a specially-trained nurse.
      By: Monkey Business
      Sipuleucel-T is often administered at an infusion center or doctor's office under the care of a specially-trained nurse.
    • Sipuleucel-T may be used to treat advanced stage prostate cancer.
      By: peterjunaidy
      Sipuleucel-T may be used to treat advanced stage prostate cancer.